Whoever thought of the Hop on Hop off bus had the ‘time challenged’ and foot weary traveller in mind.

We started the day with a sleep-in. We were so tired after our long flight the previous day. So around nine we went to the lovely breakfast room and had a great omelet.

Then it was a wander though the quiet streets. A typical Spanish trait is to party late and not get going till noon. So we had the quiet cobbled streets to ourselves. There are a few interesting styles of architecture in this city but the area we are in, Bellavista, is old style, some timber, painted brick and lots of murals on walls.

Our first stop was Pablo Neurda’s house La Chascona. It’s his alternate house where he could take his mistress,  away from the gaze of the cities eyes. It butts up against the hill we were going to visit later. It’s painted blue and has an interesting assortment of pictures. That’s as much as we saw as we decided we didn’t have time to wander around the house itself reading the translations.


The Madonna on San Cristobal


The llama at the gate to the funicular.


The view from San Cristobal


Amazing murals on the walls of Santiago.

We headed along the narrow, shaded road and went to buy tickets to the funicular. An unusually tall Santiagoan ( is that what they are called?) helped us and we bought tickets for the Hop On Hop Off bus for after our visit up the hill of San Cristobal.

The funicular was old and a little rickety but zipped up the steep rise and delivered us to a large paved area overlooking the city. Great views. Considering we were on the first funicular the area had quite a number of people. Their clothes gave them away. Lycra, worn by the fit around the world, announced them as Santiagos cyclists and runners. The hill provides the challenge.

There were more steps to climb to reach the large white statue of the Madonna as she looked out across the city. It was a quiet peaceful area with a large outdoor altar with terraced seating for outdoor masses and then a small pretty Chapel nearby.

We returned down the hill and got the bus. It’s commentary was very good providing us with all the details you need when in a new city. It’s also a great way to see places you wouldn’t get to on your own in just one day. We got off only once as we had visited some of the more interesting buildings the day before on our walking tour.

Lunch got us off and we struggled to find a restaurant with people in it. Lots of nice ones but we were a little ahead of the Saturday lunch crowd. It was 12.45 so I guess most people were only waking up. We didn’t like the idea of being the only people in a restaurant. We found one that filled the bill and the stomach.

We hopped back on for a further look at the city including a stop at a very large shopping centre before heading back toBellavista feeling very pleased at the area we stayed in. Thank you Fi from Mahjong for the suggestion. In fact all your suggestions were great. We just needed more time.

I’m now writing this on the plane – a five hour flight to Guayaquil, the first stop on our way to Galapagos. We have a quick night there before an 8 am flight tomorrow.

We’ll be very pleased to get there.

More photos coming!!!!!

Hola from Santiago

A new country always brings anticipation and excitement. Would Santiago be what I imagine?

Our flight across was very good though an hour late getting away so an hour late arriving. Even so our driver booked online was waiting for us and chatted away on our way to the hotel.

First impressions of Santiago: Not as big as I thought it would be, grey & smokey sky, big roads with not too much traffic, dry grasses, big hills –  mountains by our standards, entertainment at the traffic lights, lots of street art, a little river running extremely fast, parks everywhere and a general feeling of laid back attitude.

We hit the ground running. I had booked a walking tour for 3pm and we only got to the hotel at 2 !

Our hotel the Il Tinto Boutique Hotel – is well located in the Bellavista area,  a rather arty,  restaurant area opposite the main areas of Santiago. So we dropped our bags and  checked out the room – very nice black and white decor and overlooked the pool area. There was a commercial being shot around the pool so lucky we didn’t want a swim! We headed off to meet our walking tour guide.

Busking at the traffic lights – Santiago style

It’s the Free Walking Tours Co. Better known as Tips for Tours. You pay what you think they are worth at the end of the tour. There were about 15 in our group with a young local girl as our guide. About half the group were Australian including a couple from Newmarket (near us !) who also have a place at Caloundra.

We walked for about 2 1/2 hours and got a feel for the city and what it has to offer. I was surprised at how traffic-free the inner city area was – compared to other big cities. There are some lovely public buildings some of which were designed by Italian architects.

This time of year is usually still hot and until today the weather had been over 33. Today with the cloud cover it was a comfortable 27 which was great for walking. And walk we did so that by 5.30 we were getting tired and hungry. We had missed lunch after getting in late and heading straight out, so we found one of the many bars and I had my first Pisco Sour. Delightful and refreshing and probably very alcoholic! So to help we shared a plate of cheeses and meats. Delicious.

I’ll include the description and recipe here so you can try one at home.

A pisco sour is an alcoholic cocktail of Peruvian origin that is typical of the cuisines from Chile and Peru, considered also a South American classic.

Ingredients: 1 oz Lemon Juice, 1 Egg white, 1 1/2 oz Pisco, 3/4 oz Simple syrup.

   Preparation: Vigorously shake and strain contents in a cocktail shaker with ice cubes, then pour into glass and garnish with bitters.